A $250 million lawsuit filed against American Idol by 10 black former contestants who got disqualified (including Dallas' own Akron Watson) has the media asking if the talent show is racist. But considering the success many other black contestants have had on the program, that's not the right question. In fact, the lawsuit is more specific, alleging that American Idol applied an unusually heavy hand against black male contestants with criminal records. The claim is backed with statistics: According to the suit, 31 percent of all American Idol semifinalists who were black guys were disqualified for reasons unrelated to their singing, the suit says, while "there has never been a single white (or non-black) contestant disqualified from American Idol -- not ever."
Creative Commons/Andy Castro
Producers used the rap sheets of black contestants, the suit claims, "to scandal-monger Nielsen ratings while reinforcing the age-old stereotype of the 'black criminal.'" Acting like an equal-opportunity singing competition at times, but whoring race equality away in cases where it might help the ratings? That sounds more like the American Idol we know.
Many on the Internet are raging that the plaintiffs are just looking for money. In that case, let's examine the criminal records and resulting fall-out of some contestants not involved with this lawsuit.More »